Sometimes, life can become hectic. The path you’re traveling down that was so crystal clear when you began your journey can suddenly seem cloudy and uncertain. I’ve found that it’s in times like these where revisiting my most important goals is crucial. It’s easy to dream, in fact I would encourage you to never stop dreaming. But if we don’t stop and break those dreams down into an action plan on a regular basis, that’s when your vision becomes unclear.

Cautiously vs. Courageously

I believe that there are two ways to live life: Cautiously and courageously. Living cautiously isn’t necessarily a bad thing; you can still live a very happy, enjoyable life. For me, the disconnect happens when causation stops us from challenging ourselves, from becoming a better, more successful version of ourselves.

Living courageously includes striving toward lofty – perhaps even what seem would deem crazy – dreams. In dreams lie an inherent abundance mindset, we can see the potential in ourselves of where we are today and the unlimited growth we’re capable of. But just to dream isn’t enough. We have to put together an action plan of how our dreams will come to fruition.

For me, the turning point in dreaming big was our recent decision to free ourselves from the chains of our broker dealer, from the Wall Street powerhouses. Now that we can be a true representative of our clients, the opportunities to better serve people are unfolding daily. The potential of our team to make a positive impact in people’s lives is greater than I could’ve imagined.

However, I’ve realized that in dreaming big and capitalizing on big opportunities, breaking these down into attainable goals is crucial for our success.

5 Goal Hacks to Help You Achieve More

Here are five goal hacks that have greatly helped me over the years, and even more so recently, in not only setting goals but actually achieving them:

1. Make time to reflect and think. As simple as it sounds, people will routinely say they don’t have time to stop and think. But taking the time to stop and think about where you are and where you’re trying to go is important. It doesn’t have to happen daily; it can be a monthly, quarterly or even yearly exercise. Allocate this time to yourself and your thoughts. Shut off your phone, leave your normal routine, travel somewhere or simply shut the office door. Tune out the noise and get back in touch with your dreams.

2. Hold yourself accountable and write it down. Again, simple but extremely essential. Remember in school when you thought writing down all of those notes was a waste of time? Well in case it hasn’t hit you by now, it certainly wasn’t. It’s scientifically proven that we are more likely to retain information when we write it down. The same is true when it comes to your goals. Not only does this evoke a certain level of personal accountability, but I would even encourage you to take it one step further and find an accountability partner. In a recent study, 70% of participants who wrote down their goals and sent weekly updates to their selected peers reported getting them done, compared to only 35% who didn’t write them down.

3. Organize and categorize. Sometimes our own goals can seem overwhelming or disjointed, like they’re scattered all over the place. I know that this has been true with our team lately, with all of the changes we’ve encountered and opportunities we want to take advantage of. First, we needed to categorize our different goals, and give them a home. Then we needed to organize them in order of importance. You wouldn’t believe the impact this had, and how much it simplified things. What initially seemed daunting became a simplified process for each individual goal.

4. Assign deadlines. One of the most important steps in goal setting is applying a timeline. This is the backbone of your action plan, and is what keeps your goals in-tact. When you set hard deadlines, it keeps you motivated to stay focused and disciplined as you work toward your goal. Set up checkpoints along the way as well. These demonstrate whether or not progress is being made and if there are any obstacles that need to be addressed. Don’t forget, a goal without a plan is simply a wish. A comprehensive timeline gives your goals a tangible framework for achieving them.

5. Go backwards. It might sound weird, but I’ve found that working backwards can be highly beneficial. When I write down a goal, I then write down the ultimate end result that I am aiming for. Then I back into the starting point. It’s always easy to dream, but sometimes it’s not as easy to recognize all of the steps it will take to get there or what could go wrong. This is where working backwards helps me the most. Not only does it help me visualize an action plan, but it helps me identify obstacles that could deter our success early on. This is helpful for proactive planning, because I already have an idea of what can hinder the process and how to overcome it.